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Software will strengthen ties within communities

Toward the end of the 1990s, a loose-knit community of programmers with limited financial resources took on the world's most powerful software companies--and triumphed. Known as the open-source movement, this freewheeling confederacy grew up on the Internet. Unbound by geography or time, it has used the new communications medium as both a laboratory and a launchpad for high-quality programs such as Linux, Apache, and Perl that compete head on with Microsoft, IBM, and Sun Microsystems. The movement has spawned a whole new set of rules for the world's $150 billion software industry. And it has established a new model of how people can live and work online.

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